Box Sextant

Box Sextant

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A box (or pocket) sextant works like a traditional sextant, but here the mechanism is enclosed in a brass box of about 3 inches diameter. William Jones, a leading instrument maker in London, introduced the form in 1797.
This example has a silvered scale that is graduated every 30 minutes from -3° to +150° and read by vernier with swinging magnifier to single minutes of arc. The "Adie, London" inscription refers to Patrick Adie, an instrument maker who was in business in London from 1848 to 1886. Adie's father was an instrument maker in Edinburgh.
Ref: William Jones, "Description of a New Pocket Box Sextant," in George Adams, Geometrical and Graphical Essays, 2nd ed. by William Jones, (London, 1797), pp. 283-285.
Gloria Clifton, Directory of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1851 (London, 1995), p. 4.
Currently not on view
Object Name
box sextant
date made
mid 19th century
Adie, Patrick
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
overall: 3 1/4 in; 8.255 cm
overall in case: 2 3/8 in x 3 3/4 in; 6.0325 cm x 9.525 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
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Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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